Mad Cool 2018: six awesome things to do while you’re in Madrid

Make the most of the festival's late start

Unlike British festivals, there’s no need to be at Mad Cool at 12pm, waiting to see your favourite new band kick off a long day of music. This festival doesn’t get going until the evening, leaving you plenty of time for a lie-in and to explore Madrid. Stuck for where to start? Let us help you with that.

Relax at one of the city’s prettiest parks

If you need a little break from the festivities you could do worse than by going for a stroll in Parque de El Capricho. This isn’t just any old park, though. In it, you can see Grecian ruins, a bunker from the Spanish Civil War, a lake of black swans, and loads more.

Sample some local delicacies

Got an adventurous palate? You’re going to want to wander around one of the city’s food markets, where you can try local delicacies like gulas (surimi made to look like baby eels), bocadillo de calamares (a fried squid sandwich), croquetas de jamón (Serrano ham croquettes), and more.

Go digging for treasures


If you’ve given yourself some time to hang out in the city after the festival ends, use your Sunday wisely. El Rastro is Madrid’s best flea market, but it’s only open on Sundays and public holidays. There you’ll find clothes, jewellery, accessories, books, and various other curios waiting to claim a space in your suitcase.

Hit the indie disco

The music at Mad Cool runs until 4:30am, which means, if you stay for all of it, you’ve still got an hour-and-a-half to head down the indie disco. Get to the city’s hip district of Malsaña, where you’ll find Ochoymedio, a long-running indie club where you can dance until dawn.

Get cultural at the city’s art galleries

When you feel like you need something a little more highbrow, Madrid has plenty to offer. The Museo Nacional del Prado is the city’s largest art gallery with over 7,000 pieces to gaze upon, including works by Hieronymous Bosch, Rubens, Diego Velásquez, and more. If that sounds a bit much, try the Thyssen-Bornemiza Museum or the Reine Sofia, at the latter of which you can see pieces by Picasso and Dalí.

Get in the zone for the World Cup final

Mad Cool 2018 finishes just before the World Cup final on July 15. You won’t be able to root for Spain and you won’t be able to catch a La Liga match just yet, but you can still indulge your inner football fan by taking a tour of Santiago Bernabéu – aka the home of the infamous Real Madrid. See all the club’s many trophies and sit in Gareth Bale’s seat in the dressing room, all for as little as €18.